Royal Spanish Academy

Last updated

Royal Spanish Academy
Real Academia Española
Coat of Arms of the Royal Spanish Academy.svg
MottoLimpia, fija y da esplendor ("Cleans, fixes, and gives splendor")
Founder Juan Manuel Fernández Pacheco, 8th Duke of Escalona
PurposeLinguistic prescription and research
Headquarters Madrid, Spain
Region served
Hispanophone regions and populations
Official language
Darío Villanueva
Main organ
Junta de Gobierno
Affiliations Association of Spanish Language Academies
Royal Spanish Academy
Native name
Spanish: Real Academia Española
Real Academia de la Lengua Espanola- Madrid (5460041742).jpg
Location Madrid, Spain
Coordinates 40°24′54″N3°41′28″W / 40.41492°N 3.691173°W / 40.41492; -3.691173 Coordinates: 40°24′54″N3°41′28″W / 40.41492°N 3.691173°W / 40.41492; -3.691173
Official name: Real Academia Española
Reference no.RI-51-0010191
Spain location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Royal Spanish Academy in Spain

The Royal Spanish Academy (Spanish: Real Academia Española, generally abbreviated as RAE) is Spain's official royal institution with a mission to ensure the stability of the Spanish language. It is based in Madrid, Spain, but is affiliated with national language academies in 22 other hispanophone nations through the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language. [1] The RAE's emblem is a fiery crucible, and its motto is "Limpia, fija y da esplendor" ("Cleans, fixes, and gives splendor").

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

Madrid Capital of Spain

Madrid is the capital of Spain and the largest municipality in both the Community of Madrid and Spain as a whole. The city has almost 3.3 million inhabitants and a metropolitan area population of approximately 6.5 million. It is the third-largest city in the European Union (EU), smaller than only London and Berlin, and its monocentric metropolitan area is the third-largest in the EU, smaller only than those of London and Paris. The municipality covers 604.3 km2 (233.3 sq mi).

Hispanophone and Hispanosphere are terms used to refer to Spanish-language speakers and the Spanish-speaking world, respectively. The terms derive from the Latin political name of the Iberian Peninsula, Hispania. In addition to the general definition of Hispanophone, some groups in the Hispanic world make a distinction between Castilian-speaking and Spanish-speaking, with the former term denoting the speakers of the Spanish language—also known as Castilian—and the latter the speakers of the Spanish or Hispanic languages.


The RAE dedicates itself to language planning by applying linguistic prescription aimed at promoting linguistic unity within and between various territories, to ensure a common standard. The proposed language guidelines are shown in a number of works.

Language planning is a deliberate effort to influence the function, structure or acquisition of languages or language variety within a speech community. It is often associated with government planning, but is also used by a variety of non-governmental organizations such as grass-roots organizations as well as individuals. Goals of such planning vary. Better communication through assimilation of a single dominant language can bring economic benefits to minorities but is also perceived to facilitate their political domination. It involves the establishment of language regulators, such as formal or informal agencies, committees, societies or academies to design or develop new structures to meet contemporary needs.

Linguistic prescription, or prescriptive grammar, is the attempt to lay down rules defining preferred or "correct" use of language. These rules may address such linguistic aspects as spelling, pronunciation, vocabulary, syntax, and semantics. Sometimes informed by linguistic purism, such normative practices may suggest that some usages are incorrect, illogical, lack communicative effect, or are of low aesthetic value. They may also include judgments on socially proper and politically correct language use.


Inauguration of the RAE building in Madrid by Alfonso XIII, 1894 Madrid, inauguracion del nuevo edificio de la Real Academia Espanola. Alrededores del edificio a la llegada de SS. MM..jpg
Inauguration of the RAE building in Madrid by Alfonso XIII, 1894
Title page of Fundacion y estatutos de la Real Academia Espanola
(Foundation and statutes of the Royal Spanish Academy) (1715) Estatutos rae 1715big.jpg
Title page of Fundación y estatútos de la Real Académia Españóla (Foundation and statutes of the Royal Spanish Academy) (1715)

The Royal Spanish Academy was founded in 1713, modeled after the Accademia della Crusca (1582), of Italy, and the Académie Française (1635), of France, with the purpose "to fix the voices and vocabularies of the Castilian language with propriety, elegance, and purity". King Philip V approved its constitution on 3 October 1714, placing it under the Crown's protection.[ citation needed ]

Accademia della Crusca

The Accademia della Crusca[akkaˈdɛːmja della ˈkruska], generally abbreviated as La Crusca, is an Italian society for scholars and Italian linguists and philologists established in Florence. It is the most important research institution on the Italian language as well as the oldest linguistic academy in the world.

Philip V of Spain 18th-century King of Spain

Philip V was King of Spain from 1 November 1700 to his abdication in favour of his son Louis on 14 January 1724, and from his reaccession of the throne upon his son's death on 6 September 1724 to his own death on 9 July 1746.

Its aristocratic founder, Juan Manuel Fernández Pacheco , Duke of Escalona and Marquess of Villena, described its aims as "to assure that Spanish speakers will always be able to read Cervantes" – by exercising a progressive up-to-date maintenance of the formal language.[ citation needed ]

Duke of Escalona Spanish noble title

Duke of Escalona is a Spanish noble title given by Henry IV of Castile in 1472 to Juan Pacheco, first Marquis of Villena.

Marquisate of Villena royal or noble rank

The Marquisate of Villena is a Spaniard nobility title created in Spain in the 14th century. The first marquis of Villena was Alfonso of Aragon, and a notable marquis was Juan Manuel Fernández Pacheco—founder of the Royal Spanish Academy.

The RAE began establishing rules for the orthography of Spanish beginning in 1741 with the first edition of the Ortographía (spelled Ortografía from the second edition onwards). The proposals of the Academy became the official norm in Spain by royal decree in 1844, and they were also gradually adopted by the Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas. Several reforms were introduced in the Nuevas Normas de Prosodia y Ortografía (1959, New Norms of Prosody and Orthography). Since the establishment of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language in 1951, the Spanish academy works in close consultation with the other Spanish language academies in its various works and projects. The 1999 Orthography was the first to be edited by the twenty two academies together. [2] The current rules and practical recommendations on spelling are presented in the latest edition of the Ortografía (2010).

The headquarters, opened in 1894, is located at Calle Felipe IV, 4, in the ward of Jerónimos, next to the Museo del Prado. The Center for the Studies of the Royal Spanish Academy, opened in 2007, is located at Calle Serrano 187–189.


According to Salvador Gutiérrez, an academic numerary of the institution, the Academy does not dictate the rules but studies the language, collects information and presents it. The rules of the language are simply the continued use of expressions, some of which are collected by the Academy. Although he also says that it is important to read and write correctly. [3]

Article 1 of the statutes of the Royal Spanish Academy, translated from the Spanish, says the following: [4]

[...] [RAE][…] has as its primary mission to ensure that the changes experienced by the Spanish language in its constant adaptation to the needs of its speakers do not break the essential unity that maintains in all the Hispanic world. Equally, it must care that this evolution conserves the genius proper of the language, as it has been consolidating with the centuries, as well as establishing and spreading the criteria of propriety and correction, and of contributing to its splendor. To achieve these ends, it will study and promote the studies about history and about the present of Spanish, it will spread the literary writings, especially classics, and non-literary which it deems important for the knowledge of such matters, and it will attempt to keep alive the memory of those who, in Spain or in the Americas, have cultivated our language with glory. As member of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language, it will keep a special relation with the corresponding and associated academies.


Partial view of the library at the RAE Biblioteca de la RAE.jpg
Partial view of the library at the RAE

Members of the Academy are known as Académicos de número (English: Academic Numerary), chosen from among prestigious persons in the arts and sciences, including several Spanish-language authors, known as The Immortals (Spanish: Los Inmortales), similarly to their French Academy counterparts. The numeraries (Spanish: Números) are elected for life by the other academicians. Each academician holds a seat labeled with a letter from the Spanish alphabet, although upper and lower case letters are separate seats.

Countries with a Spanish language academy. Paises con academia de la lengua espanola.png
Countries with a Spanish language academy.

The Academy has included Latin American members from the time of Rafael María Baralt, although some Spanish-speaking countries have their own academies of the language.

Current members

A Manuel Seco Reymundo 1980
O Pere Gimferrer Torrens 1985
q Gregorio Salvador Caja 1987
p Francisco Rico Manrique 1987
d Francisco Rodríguez Adrados 1991
c Víctor García de la Concha 1992
l Emilio Lledó Íñigo 1994
C Luis Goytisolo Gay 1995
L Mario Vargas Llosa 1996
u Antonio Muñoz Molina 1996
V Juan Luis Cebrián Echarri 1997
t Ignacio Bosque Muñoz 1997
ñ Luis María Anson Oliart 1998
I Luis Mateo Díez Rodríguez 2001
N Guilermo Rojo Sánchez 2001
k José Antonio Pascual Rodríguez 2002
E Carmen Iglesias Cano 2002
i Margarita Salas Falgueras 2003
T Arturo Pérez-Reverte Gutiérrez 2003
G José Manuel Sánchez Ron 2003
j Álvaro Pombo y García de los Ríos 2004
o Antonio Fernández Alba 2006
X Francisco Brines Bañó 2006
h José Manuel Blecua Perdices 2006
a Pedro García Barreno 2006
S Salvador Gutiérrez Ordóñez 2008
R Javier Marías Franco 2008
D Darío Villanueva Prieto 2008
m José María Merino 2009
g Soledad Puértolas Villanueva 2010
P Inés Fernández-Ordóñez Hernández 2011
Q Pedro Álvarez de Miranda de la Gándara 2011
e Juan Gil Fernández 2011
f José B. Terceiro Lomba 2012
r Santiago Muñoz Machado 2013
b Miguel Sáenz Sagaseta de Ilúrdoz 2013
n Carme Riera Guilera 2013
Z José Luis Gómez García 2014
B Aurora Egido Martínez 2014
F Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón 2016
H Félix de Azúa Comella 2016
U Clara Janés Nadal 2016
s María Paz Battaner Arias 2017
K Federico Corriente Córdoba 2018
J Carlos García Gual 2019
M Juan Mayorga 2019
View of the front facade of the RAE building Real Academia Espanola (25214072243).jpg
View of the front facade of the RAE building

Notable past academicians


Joint publications of the RAE and the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language

See also

Related Research Articles

Antonio de Nebrija Spanish scholar

Antonio de Nebrija was the most influential Spanish humanist of his era. He wrote poetry, commented on literary works, and encouraged the study of classical languages and literature but his most important contributions were in the fields of grammar and lexicography. Nebrija was the author of the first Spanish grammar (1492) and the first dictionary of the Spanish language (1495). His grammar is also credited as the first published grammar of any Romance language. His chief works were published and republished many times during and after his life and his scholarship had a great influence for more than a century, both in Spain and in the expanding Spanish Empire.

Association of Academies of the Spanish Language Coordinating body of Spanish language regulators

The Association of Academies of the Spanish Language is an entity whose end is to work for the unity, integrity, and growth of the Spanish language. It was created in Mexico in 1951 and represents the union of all the separate academies in the Spanish-speaking world. The association publishes reference works on the Spanish language and commemorative editions of Hispanic literature, among other publications.

Spanish orthography The system for writing in Spanish

Spanish orthography is the orthography used in the Spanish language. The alphabet uses the Latin script. The spelling is fairly phonemic, especially in comparison to more opaque orthographies like English, having a relatively consistent mapping of graphemes to phonemes; in other words, the pronunciation of a given Spanish-language word can largely be predicted from its spelling and to a slightly lesser extent vice versa. Notable features of Spanish punctuation include the lack of the serial comma and the inverted question and exclamation marks: ⟨¿⟩ ⟨¡⟩.

Standard Spanish Standard form of the Spanish language

Standard Spanish is a linguistic variety, or lect, that is considered a correct educated standard for the Spanish language, mainly in its written form. There are different standard forms, including the Mexican or Latin American standard, the Peninsular standard or European standard and the Rioplatense standard, in addition to the standard forms developed by international organizations and multinational companies.

<i>Diccionario de la lengua española</i> dictionary of the Spanish language by the Royal Spanish Academy, first published in 1780

The Diccionario de la lengua española is a dictionary of the Spanish language. Previously known as Diccionario de la Real Academia Española, it is produced, edited, and published by the Real Academia Española with participation of the Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española. It was first published in 1780, and subsequent editions have been published about once a decade. The twenty-third edition was published in 2014.

The Academia de l'Aragonés is an organization founded on 15 July 2006 by the 2nd Congress on the Aragonese so as to be the linguistic authority for the Aragonese language. It has no official recognition by the Aragonese government.

This article describes some of the longest words in the Spanish language.

Marcos E. Becerra was a prolific Mexican writer, poet, and politician. He produced pioneering historical, linguistic, philological, and ethnographic studies relating to his country's pre-Columbian and early colonial past. He held important posts in the Mexican Federal Government as well as in the state governments of Tabasco and Chiapas. He was a distinguished member of the Mexican Academy of History.

Francisco Javier Santamaría was an influential Mexican writer and politician who is best remembered for his contributions to the study of Mexican literature and lexicography; he variously worked or published as a bibliographer, essayist, geographer, journalist, judge, lawyer, lexicographer, linguist, naturalist, pedagogue, philologist, and poet. He also served as a Senator of the Republic and as Governor of the State of Tabasco.

<i>Gramática de la lengua castellana</i> book by Antonio de Nebrija

Gramática de la lengua castellana is a book written by Antonio de Nebrija and published in 1492. It was the first work dedicated to the Spanish language and its rules, and the first grammar of a modern European language to be published. When it was presented to Isabella of Castile at Salamanca in the year of its publication, the queen questioned what the merit of such a work might be; Fray Hernando de Talavera, bishop of Avila, answered for the author in prophetic words, as Nebrija himself recalls in a letter addressed to the monarch:

After Your Highness has subjected barbarous peoples and nations of varied tongues, with conquest will come the need for them to accept the laws that the conqueror imposes on the conquered, and among them our language; with this work of mine, they will be able to learn it, as we now learn Latin from the Latin Grammar

Francisco A. Marcos-Marín Spanish linguist

Francisco Adolfo Marcos-Marín is a linguist, a professor of Linguistics and Translation at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Previously he was professore ordinario per chiara fama in the Università di Roma 'La Sapienza', catedrático de Lingüística General at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and catedrático de Historia del Español at the Universidad de Valladolid. He is a Corresponding Fellow of Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española and Academia Argentina de Letras, and an Honorary Citizen of San Antonio, Texas.

Bello orthography Spanish-language orthography created by A. Bello and J. G. del Río, published in 1823; briefly officially used in Chile

The Bello orthography or Chilean orthography was a Spanish-language orthography created by the Venezuelan linguist Andrés Bello and Juan García del Río, published in London in 1823. Part of the orthography was used officially for a time in Chile, and it influenced other Spanish-speaking countries. The aim of the orthography was a perfect correspondence between graphemes and phonemes. The reform did not succeed. Standard Spanish orthography as used for Hispanic American Spanish contains several homophones or letters that represent more than one sound, and other variances. Bello proposed several modifications that he believed should be undertaken in two stages:

  1. Substitute ⟨j⟩ for "weak" ⟨g⟩ sounds ;
  2. Substitute ⟨z⟩ for "weak" ⟨c⟩ sounds ;
  3. Remove silent ⟨h⟩s and the silent ⟨u⟩ of ⟨qu⟩- ;
  4. Substitute ⟨i⟩ for ⟨y⟩s used as vowels ;
  5. Always write ⟨rr⟩ where a rolled ⟨r⟩ is pronounced.
  1. Substitute ⟨q⟩ for "strong" c sounds ;
  2. Remove the silent ⟨u⟩ in ⟨gu⟩-.

Diego González Holguín was a Spanish Jesuit priest and missionary, as well as a scholar of the Quechua languages during the era of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

The Diccionario panhispánico de dudas or DPD is an elaborate work undertaken by the Real Academia Española and the Association of Spanish Language Academies with the goal of resolving questions related to the proper use of the Spanish language. Like other publications of the Academy, such as the Diccionario de la lengua española de la Real Academia Española, the work follows a linguistically prescriptive philosophy as opposed to a descriptive one. The first edition was published in 2005 and is now being revised to more properly align with principles set forth by the Academy's other publications.

José Ignacio Bosque Muñoz is a Spanish linguist. He is a professor of Spanish Philology at the Complutense University of Madrid; a position he has held since 1982. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Utrecht, The Ohio State University, the University of Leuven, Sophia University and the University of Minnesota.

<i>Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española</i>

The Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española is a dictionary of the Spanish language, written by Sebastián de Covarrubias in 1611.

The Equatoguinean Academy of the Spanish Language is an association of academics and experts on the use of the Spanish language in Equatorial Guinea, a republic in Central Africa in which Spanish is the national official language. Equatoguinean Spanish is the particular variety of Spanish that is spoken in the country. Since 19 March 2016, it has been a member of the Association of Spanish Language Academies.

Arturo Agüero Chaves, was a Costa Rican writer, poet, philologist, lexicographer and educator. Along with Aquileo J. Echeverría, he is one of the greatest exponents of Costa Rican costumbrismo. He is also considered the father of modern linguistics in Costa Rica.

Manuel Seco Reymundo is a Spanish lexicographer, linguist and philologist. He worked at the department of lexicography of the Real Academia Española between 1962 and 1993. He became a member of the Academia in 1980.


  1. "ASOCIACIÓN DE ACADEMIAS DE LA LENGUA ESPAÑOLA" (PDF). Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 4, 2017. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  2. Real Academia Española (1999). Ortografía de la Lengua Española (PDF) (in Spanish). pp. v–viii. ISBN   84-239-9250-0. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 26, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
  3. Plaza, J. M. (12 December 2013). "Dequeístas, leístas y compañía... hay una salida" [Dequeístas, leístas, and company... there is a way out]. El Mundo. Spain. Archived from the original on 15 June 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  4. "ESTATUTOS Y REGLAMENTO DE LA REAL ACADEMIA ESPAÑOLA" (PDF). Real Academia Española. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 28, 2017. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  5. "Ediciones del diccionario académico" (PDF). Real Academia Española. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 13, 2017. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  6. "Diccionario de la lengua española". Real Academia Española. Archived from the original on October 25, 2017. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  7. "Diccionario esencial de la lengua española". Real Academia Española. Archived from the original on October 25, 2017. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  8. "Prólogo" (PDF). Real Academia Española. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 4, 2017. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  9. "Nueva gramática. Morfología y sintaxis". Real Academia Española. Archived from the original on October 25, 2017. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  10. "El diccionario de americanismos incluye setenta mil entradas", Diario ABC (27 de febrero de 2010), 2010
  11. "La Real Academia Española y la Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española presentan la Nueva gramática de la lengua española.", Real Academia Española, 2010, archived from the original on March 25, 2010
  12. "La Real Academia Española y la Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española presentan la Nueva gramática de la lengua española". Real Academia Española. Archived from the original on February 13, 2013.
  13. "Nueva gramática básica". Real Academia Española. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  14. "Diccionario panhispánico de dudas". Real Academia Española. Archived from the original on October 23, 2016. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  15. "Diccionario del estudiante". Real Academia Española. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  16. "Diccionario práctico del estudiante". Real Academia Española. Archived from the original on October 31, 2017. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  17. "Diccionario de americanismos". Real Academia Española. Archived from the original on November 17, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2017.